Anna Prater, Chattanooga, Tenn. – Few were in their seats while the Avett Brothers performed fan favorites and old gems to a sold-out crowd of 4,800 at the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Auditorium Saturday night.
It was the first time in four years that the band made their way to Chattanooga, but the crowd reaction proved that it was worth the wait.
The mid-sized auditorium was the perfect venue for the North Carolina seven-piece to sing and dance their hearts out along with the audience.
The instrumental, old-timey sounding “D Bag Rag” set the tone for what would be a light-hearted and fun night, as each band member broke out kazoos for the last minute of the tune.
For the entire 27-song set, the crowd was attentive, excited and in sync. Fans stood, danced, sang, screamed and jumped during every jam.
And the entire room held its collective breath during “Murder in the City,” a ballad about fear and love sung by Scott Avett after the rest of the band left the stage.
Those quiet moments, and there were a lot of them, were a far cry from the last time the Avett Brothers came to town.
The Track 29 audience, though one-fourth the size of Memorial Auditorium, used the slow songs to do all of their talking. This time, however, the two brothers took advantage of the atmosphere and spent about a quarter of the evening on their more intimate, personal songs.
One of these was a new song, never recorded, titled, “I Wish I Was.” Before crowding around a microphone with bassist Bob Crawford and his brother, Seth Avett told the crowd it was a song they’ve been working on for their new album, expected in spring of 2016. Another for which the crowd hung on every word, this ballad is sure to be a highlight when released.
Just a few songs later, Seth Avett was in the crowd with his electric guitar, playing the solo of “Kick Drum Heart” while surrounding fans lost their minds.
Shortly after, the band left the stage, but not for long. The crowd was relentless and it didn’t take long for the Avett Brothers to come back out for a few more songs.
The encore began with another instrumental jam, this time called “Pretty Girl From Chattanooga,” though the title changes with each city they’re in.
Three songs later, including one with a five-minute drum solo during which the rest of the band bowed before drummer Mike Marsh, they left the stage again.
The crowd and band seemed to be having equal amounts of fun for the duration of the two-hour concert, and hopefully that means it won’t be four more years until they come back around to Chattanooga.